Provincial policies regarding English and other teaching subject areas are always changing and evolving both here in Jiangsu province and across China in general. For example, the days of just having a TEFL certificate in Changzhou are long gone, and to be legal, you have to have at least a Bachelors from an accredited English speaking university. When I came to Changzhou back in 2014, only a photograph of this degree was needed to get a Foreign Expert Certificate. That changed many months ago. Now, if you are changing jobs, you have to go to a governmental office with a copy of your actual bachelors, masters, or doctorate.
For those in Jiangsu, this can be problematic. There are only five places in the province where you can get this done. They are Changzhou, Wuxi, Suzhou, Nanjing, and Huaian. If you live in any other Jiangsu city, like Yancheng, Xuzhou, Yangzhou, and others, you are out of luck. You will have take a day trip to process your paperwork. Some offices might except express deliveries, but think about that for a moment. This is your actual, real degree you are mailing, not a copy. Do you really trust the mail with such an important document? Do you trust the office worker to mail it back to you correctly?
Fortunately for those of us in Changzhou, we do have a validation office. What that process entails and costs is perhaps a post for another time, and besides, a new hire’s foreign officer should be able to help with the minutia. What I am more concerned with is how to get to the office in Changzhou. It is not easy if you do not know where you are going. Here are the steps in getting to that office.
- Go to Boai Road. This road is in the city center, and it’s between Nandajie and the downtown train station. In the area, you will will find a lot of shops that sell eBikes. So, if you see those places, you are on the right road. Keep looking.
2. On Boai Road, you will find an alley next to Donghai Securities. If somebody has given you a Chinese address and you have plugged it into a maps app, it will lead you here. This is where it gets tricky.
3. Walk into that alley. Keep your eyes to the left. Look for an entrance made of glass with three steps. Once you walk through the door, you should be able to go straight to an elevator. Take that elevator to the fourth floor.
4. Once you get out of the elevator, follow the hallway until you find the door pictured above. You will have to go through a walkway bridging from building to another.
5. Find this door. Yes, the above picture is blurry and unclear. Sue me. This was a darkly lit hallway, and I took these pictures on a weekend, when the office was closed.
In truth, the time window on degree validations is likely nearing its end. Most people who have to do this have probably already done this now. People who want to come to China, but who are still living in their home country, actually have to go to their nearest consulate to do this. That being said, some might have to go to this office for some reason, and it really is absurdly difficult to find if you don’t know where you are going.